When can asbestos be a problem in the home?

Today, far fewer products in the home contain asbestos. Current products that do contain the material are better made to withstand wear and use.

However, frequent or prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres may still bring health risks. This can happen with the release of fibres into the air when asbestos-containing products break down, either through deterioration as they age or when they are cut. People can put themselves at risk — often without realizing it — if they do not take proper precautions when repairs or renovations disturb asbestos containing materials. This can occur in a number of situations:

  • Disturbing loose-fill vermiculite insulation which may contain asbestos
  • Removing deteriorating roofing shingles and siding containing asbestos, or tamperingwith roofing felt that contains asbestos
  • Ripping away old asbestos insulation from around a hot water tank
  • Sanding or scraping vinyl asbestos floor tiles
  • Breaking apart acoustical ceilings tiles containing asbestos
  • Sanding plaster containing asbestos, or sanding or disturbing acoustical plaster thatgives ceilings and walls a soft, textured look
  • Sanding or scraping older water-based asbestos coatings such as roofing compounds,spackling, sealants, paint, putty, caulking or drywall
  • Sawing, drilling or smoothing rough edges of new or old asbestos materials”The important message here is that there is a good chance that you will encounter asbestos containing material(s) when remodeling or renovating, even when doing seemingly minor projects. Don’t take the chance with the health of your family, do your homework and have materials sampled/tested before you start. Be warned…if you encounter asbestos containing materials it can be very expensive to remediate or remove; this is why a lot of people, including renovation contractors, choose to ignore this issue and just go ahead without checking the materials that they will be disturbing.For more information on asbestos and our homes visit the flowing sites:

    http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/ashome.html http://www2.worksafebc.com/i/posters/2010/WS%202010-01/ws2010-01_asbestos.html

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